Changes are hard for all of us, especially when it comes to diet. We get used to eating a certain way and have our all-time favorite foods that we just can’t give up. I am definitely in the same boat. I love my desserts and Sunday morning pancakes. Unfortunately, my body does not love the traditional versions of these treats. The white flour, sugar and unhealthy fats can be detrimental to my waistline and make it difficult to stay slim. So what’s a girl to do? It is hard to give it all up and we should not have to. The trick is just to find the right substitutions that will allow us to indulge in our favorite foods without the guilt or pesky pounds.
Here are 10 healthy substitutions for some of the most common unhealthy foods or ingredients. These substitutions will help you stay slim while still getting to enjoy your food!
1. Swap White and Whole Wheat Bread for Ezekial Bread
Why: Bread spikes blood sugar, causing the body to hold onto fat.
Ezekial bread is the exception to this rule because it is made of sprouted flours that do not digest as fast in the body. It’s also packed with seeds that provide an array of nutrients and will not cause you to crave a few more pieces.
2. Swap Boxed Cookies for Almond Flour Cookies
Why: Store bought cookies are usually high in sugar and contain many processed ingredients that can sabotage weight loss. Almond flour based cookies will allow you to indulge without the bulge! Almond flour is just ground almonds, which are high in vitamin E, fiber and protein. These promote clear skin and a fit body. Try this recipe for a delicious treat without the negative results.
2 c almond flour
1 c oats
3/4 c almond milk
2 Tbs. coconut oil
2 Tbs. peanut butter
2 Tbs. ground flaxseed
1-2 c dark chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
Honey, stevia or agave nectar to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl
- Form cookies and press down on cookie tray so they are flat.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
3. Swap Traditional Crackers for Mary’s Seed Crackers
Why: The pesky flour in crackers raises blood sugar and leaves you with a major energy crash. It also makes you crave more crackers, and can leave you eating the entire box. No good for a fit, healthy body! A seed based cracker delivers healthy fats that will keep you satisfied without the crash.
4. Swap standard American cheese for artisanal (high quality) hard cheese
Why: The cheese produced in massive quantities is loaded with ingredients that can negatively affect hormones. Balanced hormones are crucial to stay healthy and slim. Opt for a high quality cheese that is made locally or at a small sustainable farm. These contain less sugar and antibiotics while containing more healthy fats. The taste is usually more rich so you need less to be satisfied.
5. Swap juice/soda for green tea
Why: Juices and soda provide a quick boost of energy followed by an major crash. They are filled with simple sugars that do nothing good for your health or figure. Making the switch to green tea will actually help you burn fat throughout the day, provide a steady stream of energy and deliver powerful beauty boosting antioxidants. In addition, green tea does not contain as much caffeine as a cup of coffee so it will not raise your cortisol levels (stress hormone).
6. Swap traditional meat for grass-fed meat
Why: Cows that are not strictly on a grass-fed diet are fed a combination of grains, corn and antibiotics. This is to fatten up the cow as much as possible. Unfortunately, by consuming non grass-fed meat we are consuming high amounts of these ingredients. This has poor implications on our hormones, weight and chronic inflammation. Grass-fed meat is definitely pricey, but well worth it. You do not need much to get the benefits, which include iron, b vitamins, healthy fats and muscle building protein.
7. Swap dried fruit for fresh fruit
Why: Dried fruit has very low nutritional value. All the healthy fiber has been removed as well as the water. These important components have been replaced by sugar. You are so much better off enjoying a nice piece of fresh fruit that contains important phytochemicals that reduce inflammation and satiate you.
8. Swap French fries with sweet potato chips
Why: French fries are usually made with hydrogenated oils, which can lead to a whole slew of problems including chronic disease and diabetes. The white potatoes do not have much to offer in the way of nutrient density and do not promote a healthy gut (important for weight regulation). Sweet potatoes are high in antioxidants that reduce inflammation. In addition, they serve as a prebiotic, which contributes to a healthy gut.
9. Swap candy for dark chocolate
Why: We all know that candy sticks to our thighs and offers absolutely nothing in the way of nutritional value. Dark chocolate not only cures sweet cravings, but also boost sex drive, increases serotonin (feel good hormone) and does not spike blood sugar. It’s the perfect solution for a sweet craving!
10. Swap pretzels for nuts
Why: Pretzels are one of those sneaky snacks that seem ok for you since they are low in calories but in fact can be costly to your weight loss efforts. The main ingredient flour digests quickly in your system and turns into sugar in your body. We know this leads to extra pounds. Not to mention, pretzels do not contain any ingredients that will hold keep you satiated. Nuts on the other hand are packed with healthy fats that will cure cravings, improve skin complexion and support a healthy immune system.